The top grossing films of 2015 were Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Jurassic World, and The Avengers: Age of Ultron. All achieve five-star status, but none makes my list for the top five mass market sci-fi/fantasy/horror films.
Perhaps it all boils down to originality: Each of the three top moneymakers are part of a series. None of my top picks are. Click on the film name for a full review.
#5: It Follows, directed by David Robert Mitchell. This critical darling emerges as one of the most original and stylish horror films in the last decade.
#4: The Visit, directed by M. Night Shyamalan. This one stands out from the pack of horror films with child protagonists. Sometimes it’s funny, sometimes it’s quite frightening. And true to M. Night’s canon, it offers a twist and a positive message.
#3: Pixels, directed by Chris Columbus. Inventive concept, stunning special effects, and a juvenile cast of characters. Great dumb fun.
#2: Krampus, directed by Michael Dougherty. Krampus surprises as a new Christmas horror classic. It far transcends the anticipated “slasher” film and delivers a positive message while crossing several genres: comedy, action, horror . . . even drama.
#1: The Green Inferno, directed by Eli Roth. Everyone’s talking about “the bear maul scene” from The Revenant. Obviously, they haven’t seen The Green Inferno, which gushes cartoonish violence and over-the-top gore. Surely most critics (and moviegoers) will disagree with me. Too bad. If you make it through this one without cringing or squirming, then you closed your eyes.
Let’s hope that 2016 offers as much moviegoing fun as last year! – Douglas J. Ogurek